Tag Archives: dark

Listen: Ruelle

Ruelle

 

Listen: Ruelle 

This past January, Nashville-based artist Ruelle released her debut EP, Up In Flames. The EP is a collection of dark, electronic-pop songs written and recorded specifically for TV/Film.  After her haunting songs began finding their way onto television shows and films like The Loft, The SlapRevengeThe OriginalsSleepy HollowReckless, and DaVinci’s Demons, Maggie Eckford decided to bring them all together in an EP under the new artist name, Ruelle.

 

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Must Hear: MONO – “Where We Begin”

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When MONO began in 1999, they set out with a simple mission: From bliss to bludgeon, no matter how long or winding the path may be. Their debut album, Under The Pipal Tree, outlined that mission in twisted, psychedelic fury. Subsequent albums would see the band honing their craft, mastering their mission, and ultimately abandoning that path in favor of more grandiose pursuits. Flanked by increasingly larger orchestras, MONO performed live at some of the most prestigious venues in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Australia. MONO had become an orchestral rock band, a spectacle of extreme melancholy and melodrama. By 2012’s For My Parents, the band had finally reached the logical conclusion of that era; it was time to remember where they started, and to rethink where they were heading. Less strings? No strings? Louder? Quieter? Lighter? Darker? Yes.

Remember their song “Life in Mono” that was in the movie Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke? I LOVEDDDDD that song!!!!

Here’s the video:

The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness are a pair of new albums by MONO. Recorded simultaneously yet conceptually and creatively disparate, the two act as both opposing and complementary sides to a story. No strangers to narratives, the twin albums explore familiar themes for the band: Hope and hopelessness, love and loss, immense joy and unspeakable pain. Those elemental parts of life and the complicated relationships they create have never been more resonant through MONO’s music than they are here.

The Last Dawn is the first of these two companion albums, and is the “lighter” of the two, thematically and melodically. It contains undoubtedly some of MONO’s strongest songs ever, drawing on an array of influences from minimalist film score to vintage shoegaze. It is MONO at their absolute purest, executing an uncanny, unspoken dialogue with each other without the dozens of stringed instruments that have been so prominent throughout their catalog in recent years. The songs are also noticeably more efficient – there hasn’t been a MONO full-length record that fit on a single slab of vinyl since 2003’s One Step More And You Die – and the album benefits immeasurably from this streamlined approach. MONO have always been masters of telling compelling stories without words. But now they’ve proven they can do it without frills, too.

Listen: MONO – “Where We Begin” from The Last Dawn 

Preorder The Last Dawn

Rays of Darkness is the first MONO album in 15 years to feature no orchestral instruments whatsoever. That fact alone is remarkable given the band’s reputation for sweeping, dramatic instrumentals that recall Oscar-worthy film scores. Instead, Rays of Darkness more closely resembles a jet engine taking off inside a small, crowded auditorium. It is MONO’s blackest album ever, a collection of scorched riffs, doom rhythms, and an unexpected contribution from post-hardcore pioneer Tetsu Fukagawa of Envy. The album ends with the smoldering wreckage of distorted guitars and ominous drones playing out a eulogy to the days when MONO shot blinding rays of light through seemingly endless darkness.

Preorder Rays of Darkness

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THE LAST DAWN TRACKLISTING

1. The Land Between Tides / Glory

2. Kanata

3. Cyclone

4. Elysian Castles

5. Where We Begin

6. The Last Dawn

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RAYS OF DARKNESS TRACKLISTING

1. Recoil, Ignite

2. Surrender

3. The Hand That Holds the Truth

4. The Last Rays

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Newest Love: Nova Heart

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“A delightful shock from China ….. a sly variant on Seventies New Wave: a dynamic singer, Helen Feng, who bears a strong vocal resemblance to Blondie’s Debbie Harry, fronting a White Stripes-style rhythm section – male guitarist, wicked female drummer – that threaded loops and programming through heavy blues and dance floor rhythms….. – at once rough and digital… my first best of the fest.”  – ROLLING STONE (David Fricke, Senior Editor)

If the music planet these days is inhabited by candy colored pop munchkins, ruby red dance floors, and twerking teddy bears, here comes the Wicked Witch of the East.  Staunchly opposed to the oh so technicolored predictable dance tracks that have goo’d and gaga’d the world, a band out of China, yes you heard me, China, has produced an electronic EP finally with a nasty, nasty side to drive fear into the all the denizens of OZ.

This is not for the club, but for the lonely, lonely walk home after a night at the club.  It’s music for walking through streets filled with tranny prostitutes (Beautiful Boys) and coming down from lord knows what (My Song 9).  As if emerging from the polluted fog of Beijing, Nova Heart gives you garbled transmissions from an enemy satellite, telling you that for every up there is a down, for every pleasure there is a price.

And this message, like an ominous counterpoint, is filled with sex unfulfilled and builds that lead to a slide into oblivion. Dark analog scenes created by Italian cowboy Rodion are filled to the brim with the siren’s call of lead singer Helen Feng that promises both sex and mortality – all at the same time.  Deceptive pop melodies that lead you down the road as if setting you up for the kill before they diverge and you drop down that endless well.
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Live, Nova Heart is like watching a gathering at a religious service gone dangerously wrong.  The world’s most amazing female drummer, ATOM, the size of a munchkin herself, powers through a show that feels like a voodoo ceremony while Helen holds the pulpit like an evangelical preacher shaking and panting as if she´s feeling some spirit possessing her body and asking for your souls.  The guitarist (LOOP), sends only the dirtiest warbliest Floyd-like hooks out in crashing waves as the bassist plays distorted grooves that seems some strange baby called industrial funk.

And from the music and the sound they tease at past hours on that ruby dance floor, dancing around aged genres but never landing flat footed in anything predictable.  Perhaps only a group coming out of China can dare to make such predictions, the exuberance of the never ending 80’s finally in coda, and all we are left with is an illusion, the afterglow of the ecstasy, and the fear of facing the consequences of our excess.  Perhaps it takes a band that lives in a place where the foibles of a self-obsessed world are exaggerated to 1.6 billion degrees to create the come down album of their generation.  This is not a political statement as it is more of a moment of contemplation on just how it feels when the party is over.  And if you’re lucky, these are the tracks for the after-after party in purgatory.

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Newest Love: The Japanese Popstars

New album Controlling Your Allegiance out June 21

The Japanese Popstars – Gary Curran, Declan ‘Decky Hedrock’ McLaughlin and Gareth Donoghue – may have been together for just four years, but they’ve carved out a reputation to rival the biggest names in dance music as a must-see live act and purveyor of raucous, foot-stomping, energetic electronic dance music. In the two years since their debut album We Just Are dropped on Gung-Ho! (UK), they have played major market dates in the U.S. including Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival in LA, played in Australia, across Europe and, of course Japan – a place that’s especially taken them to their hearts.

The band has also made a name for themselves as sought after remixers, having notched up their own inimitable re-rubs for luminaries such as Beyonce, Depeche Mode, Gorillaz and Kylie Minogue. In keeping with this proud tradition, The Japanese Popstars were also featured in the Tron Remix album, Tron: Legacy Reconfigured with their take on Daft Punk‘s Arena.

But it’s Controlling Your Allegiance, that’s the real leap forward as this is The Japanese Popstars first use of vocalists on an album.  And they didn’t pick just any old session singers either…  Wonder why the track “Take Forever” sounds like The Cure? That’s because the trio has enlisted collaborations from top notch artists such as Robert Smith (The Cure), Lisa Hannigan, Jon Spencer (of Blues Explosion), Tom Smith (The Editors), Green Velvet,  Morgan Kibby, M83 and Ireland’s James Vincent McMorrow.

I’m not sure what this video is really about…and I’m not sure what that creature is. All I know is that I felt bad for it while watching…it sort of made me sad. Quite an odd video.

Anyhow, you’ll like them if you’re a fan of Depeche Mode and Gorillaz.

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New Video: CREEP “Days” ft. Romy Madley-Croft of The xx

Brooklyn duo CREEP (producers/DJs Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard) released their debut single, “Days,” yesterday, January 25, through Young Turks.  The single features guest vocals by The xx’s Romy Madley-Croft. 
 
“Days” is a ghostly blend of Romy’s ethereal voice and CREEP’s sinister beats, blending tones of goth, shoegaze and R&B to create darkly prophetic and orchestral soundscapes. I’ll keep ya updated on the full album that’s set for release this year.

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